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ECHO COMMENT: Why should we really pay 5p every time we use a carrier bag?

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 11, 2012

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THERE'S always been something peculiar about the rush to crackdown on the use of carrier bags through charging.

While the overall message makes perfect sense, it's time to bring a bit of reality into the discussion.

Should we all be penalised, all the time, if we happen to buy something in a shop and don't have a carrier bag with us?

Because, make no mistake, if we are charged 5p for every carrier bag we use in Cheltenham, that is an extra cost.

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Traders aren't going to remove 5p from the basic sale costs. Neither are they going to be paying 5p for their carrier bags.

Encouraging people to re-use carrier bags does make absolute sense. Every time we do a supermarket shop, we should keep the bags. And we should take them with us the next time we go to the supermarket.

But if we're in Cheltenham town centre, or anywhere else for that matter, making a purchase, what difference would it really make?

We may not have a carrier bag with us, but would instantly find 5p added to the bill.

And it is just as unfair to charge 5p for a bag whether the shopper is buying an expensive television or a newspaper.

Apparently, 70 per cent of those consulted in the latest Cheltenham survey agreed with the 5p charge, although the survey was limited to customers of Lush Cosmetics.

Perhaps they had thought through the reality of the situation and made their decision based on the bigger picture. Perhaps they had not.

THE astonishing fund-raising carried out by the people of Cheltenham means six-year-old Daniel Morgan may be able to walk, with crutches, for the first time.

The imaginatively named "Help Daniel Find His Feet" campaign will achieve just that.

But as local hairdressers Simon Greaves and Matt Chivers set off on a fund-raising cycle ride for Daniel on Sunday – with Matt throwing in a bungee jump for good measure – don't think there is no reason to support them.

Their effort, which has already been backed to the level of £1,500, will help pay for physiotherapy he desperately needs after the operation.

Well done to everyone involved in making such a difference.

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  • Grahambarker  |  October 13 2012, 8:05AM

    I wouldnt mind paying if you could see the 5p's being collected and handed over to a local (green) charity - but the charge usualy gets swept into the business coffers. Sometimes I do forget to take a plastic bag out with me and sometimes I do make a surprise purchase - which is what the shops want us to do and at those times I resent being charged and consisdered an eco criminal for doing so. If you shop in Waitrose, the offer of a painstakingly presented a plastic bag comes with free guilt complex.

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